Now with only 3 days left until we leave for France, it still doesn’t really feel real that very soon we’ll be jumping on a plane to begin our journey. It’s been hectic the past few weeks trying to stay on top of my assessments and assignments for school while balancing research for this trip but I have to say that it has all been worth it and I cannot wait to head to France!
At the moment I’m in the middle of packing my bag and I’ve made sure that I’ll be taking all the important information that I have on my ancestors. Altogether, I’ve managed to obtain quite a bit of personal information on both my great-grandfathers so that I could gain an insight into their lives and how the war fitted into it. It’s become clear to me that the war had a significant impact on their lives long after it had finished even it was just by little habits that it instilled in them such as refusing to waste anything. I’ve also learnt that because the war was such a traumatic experience for the soldiers, many of them preferred not to discuss it afterwards as they felt that this was the best way to deal with the issue. Nowadays, I feel we have a different attitude towards internal struggles in that often it is said that we mustn’t ‘bottle up’ our feelings and that talking about it is important for moving on and recovering. This trip is meaningful for me personally, as we will be visiting some places that relate specifically to where my great-grandfathers were during the war. We will be visiting Gommecourt and Bapaume as these are both small towns that my ancestors passed through during World War 1.
When we are in France, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how all these towns fitted into my ancestors' journey during the war and possibly significant events that occurred in these places. Upon returning to New Zealand, I will be sharing my trip with my school so I’ll be taking lots of photos over there!
For now I’ll just be organising myself so that I’m all ready to go on Saturday!